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Force Master Mode via Cable ModReturn to News Page

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Mods to force Master Mode
(PB G4 w/Pioneer K04L)

By Mike Johnson
Posted: 6/1/2005

(Note: As mentioned in several drive database reports here earlier this year, many Pioneer K04L (slotted 8x 'superdrive') when used in systems like the Powerbook G4 that have a separate IDE cable/bus for the Optical drive ran as a Slave instead of the normal Master setting. Reportedly the drives were set for Slave mode in firmware (although some batches of K04Ls may be set to Master, many were not.) For systems like the Mac Mini, or Cube, Slave setting for optical drives is typical as they share a single cable/bus for the Optical drive and Hard Drive but for Powerbook G4 use, Master is preferred. This reader article shows mods he made to the PB G4 optical drive cable to force Master mode on the drive.-Mike)

Thanks for the great site! I'm hoping this info on the DVR-K04 will be very helpful to everyone. I own a PowerBook G4 (DVI) 800 running OS X 10.4.1. I finally decided it was time for an internal DVD-R/RW drive. I am a big fan of Pioneer drives, so despite the troubles others have listed here (i.e. some earlier drive database reports on problems with slave set K04L drives in some macs like Powerbook G4s, although slave is correct for Mac Minis, Cubes, etc.-Mike), I opted to buy a Pioneer DVR-K04. I also decided to save a little money and purchase from a PC parts vendor. I received the drive with the black bezel installed. Before installing in my PowerBook, I wanted to test the drive to see if it was operational. I was also conccerned about the master/slave issue. I installed the drive in an external firewire case using a slimline CD adapter I purchased with the drive. My case requires drives be set to master to work. The drive functioned flawlessly, so I assume the drive is set to master. Next test, install the drive in a old Gateway laptop. It works fine, but is seen as slave. (The Gateway's original CD-ROM was also a slave.)

Finally, I install the drive in my PowerBook. I decided to leave the black bezel in place. I see no real reason to remove it. The drive fits fine with it on. (I'm surprised it fit with a bezel on the front. I'd have removed it personally as PB G4, Cube, etc. slotted drives don't normally have a bezel on the drive.-Mike) I reassemble my PowerBook and fire it up. The DVR-K04 is seen as slave! It is reported as "Apple shipped/supported", but I can't burn from the Finder. I get an error about "unsupported device". It won't boot from an optical disc with the "C" key held down, but it will boot with the option key. Burns with Toast seem to work fine.

I was I little depressed about the "slave" issue. I really don't think these drives are hard coded as "master" or "slave". If anything, they are coded as "cable select". I did some research on the web, and here on xlr8yourmac.com, and I came across this article:
(that's the article from 2001 here on PB G3 Expansion bay drive swaps - which has a note/photo on forcing master mode via pin 45/47 bridging.-Mike)

I did a Google search to find a pinout of the 50-pin JAE connector used on slimline CD and DVD drives.

Pix of cable

The Cable Select pin is 47. By shorting it to ground (pin 45) this should force the drive to be seen as "Master". I remove the drive and cable from my PowerBook, and use an extremely fine soldering iron, I bridge pins 47 and 45 together on the CD-ROM cable at the drive end. (you could also use a conductive pen, automobile rear defogger repair kit, etc.-Mike)

Pix of cable mod

I again reassemble my PowerBook. The drive is now seen as "Master" and all functions are working fine. Finder buring works and I can boot using the "C" key! Hooray!

I took some before and after photos of the cable and point out which two to solder together if you would like to post them here for everyone. Again, the Pioneer DVR-K04 appears to be set for cable select, so a fairly simple cable modification, should make it show up as master.

-Mike J.

(Note: normally if the drive was set to cable select, when used with a Cable Select cable it would be set to a Master automatically if it was the end drive on the cable (or the lone drive). But either the drive is set to Slave in firmware, or the PB G4's cable is not CS compatible, as with a CS cable, the end drive on the cable is set to Master automatically when the drive is set to CS mode.-Mike)

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